Growing up, the kids in my house were always in charge of cleaning the house before my father and stepmother had guests. They often had card parties, which would fill the home with laughter, good food, and fun for us all.
One particular Saturday, hours before a party, my sister had the idea to spray Pledge furniture polish all over the carpet to make it smell good. She couldn’t have been more than 8 years old, the Pledge smelled lemony fresh, so it made sense.
That night, the carpet became an ice rink.
Guests were slipping and sliding as they moved from table to table during the party. The adults were very confused as to how this was happening. One of us kids suggested that it was, perhaps, because of the Pledge, and their eyes went wide.
“She did WHAT?!” their friends exclaimed over laughter. Luckily, no one was hurt, even though I’m fairly certain I remember one of the adults falling.
Now, I don’t remember if she got in trouble after this incident but if it had happened in my home today, I would have laughed. Especially if I had a child like my sister. My sister was never malicious. She simply had an idea that seemed good in theory, but it played out to not be such a good idea.
That’s kind of what life is all about; trying things to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s about practicing. We can strive for perfection during our practicing, but we have to be careful about how extreme we take the idea of perfectionism.
I used to struggle with the idea of perfection for years and all it did was make me lose sleep, cry and worry often. Then one day I heard Jillian Michaels say “be proud of your practice” when talking about yoga on one of her DVD’s. Her words about “practice” stuck in my mind. I truly thought about what she said.
It led me to think about doctors. Doctors have “practices”, which made me realize that even they are constantly practicing. Children and adults go to basketball, volleyball, swimming practice and more. I write, draw and cook every day, which is a great form of creative practice.
In reality, we are all practicing at life each and every day.
I am still particular about certain things**, but through letting my extreme perfectionistic tendencies go, it enabled me to make decisions much more quickly and just go with the flow. It also helped my relationship with my husband grow even stronger.
One thing I know for sure: When you let go of trying to make a relationship perfect, it blooms into something beautiful.
I like to practice and I do it often. I encourage others to do the same. Practice reading, practice writing, practice exercise habits, practice patience, practice doing more of what you love. Something great could come from it.
Through my sisters practice of cleaning and trying to make the carpet smell good, I can guarantee only one thing great came from that: Don’t spray furniture polish on carpet. Lesson learned. Who knew that Pledge on carpet equaled an indoor ice skating rink?!
**= Even though I understand life is about practice, my perfectionism still lies within my soul. However, I try not to fight it too much when it sneaks back into my life because over the years, I’ve realized that sometimes it’s a good thing. Instead of it causing worry and crying fits anymore, I use it to pay attention to detail, which helps my creative talents get better and better. I use it to stay organized, therefore I am able able to accomplish much more in a day than I ever have before.